Though the show received less-than-glowing reviews, La MaMa brings back the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre's new puppet-opera adaptation of the classic "Little Mermaid" for a return engagement, Feb. 11-21.
Rusalka, the Little Mermaid, was adapted and directed by Vit Horejas, and presented (Jan. 7-17 at La MaMa) with 16 performers manipulating over 30 marionettes.
The folk tale, also the basis of Disney's famous "Little Mermaid" cartoon film, tells the story of a fish-tailed rivermaid who falls for a prince and appeals to an old witch to give her human legs. She's given the legs but is unable to hold the fickle prince's love. When she returns, the fairy kingdom condemns her, and she's forced to hover forever over the swamplands... luring humans to death. (Disney changed the ending slightly for a wider audience appeal.)
This production does incorporate certain changes engulfing pop culture into the story, for example: the self-centered Prince marionette is played by a narcissistic puppet of the pop-singer, Prince (actually - The Artist Formerly Known As Prince).
Composer Dvorak composed an opera of the same subject matter, which will be incorporated into the score along with pop tunes by Prince and original music by jazz great, William Parker. Parker's Organic Theater Ensemble will be on hand playing the piece. For tickets ($15 - $20) or more information, call (212) 475-7710.
-- By Sean McGrath